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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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*> of this foreign Army on Russian soil seemed to the Kremlin to have
certain aspects which were revolutionary in character. And anything
c revolutionary/ that is, any thoughts or any features not in agreement
with the Party doctrine and schemes, was cut off at birth by the
reactionary bureaucratic state machine. An independent Polish force
on the soil of Russia was indeed revolutionary. It made apparent to the
nationalities of the U.S.S.R., that at le^t one nation, which had formerly
been under the Tsarist regime was now free and that even the Soviets
were obliged to take its freedom into consideration. And furthermore, it
might even begin to dawn on the minds of these enslaved peoples that
their state was not so omnipotent as the propaganda of the Kremlin would
have them believe. For twenty years, the Kremlin's ruling autocracy
had been unaccustomed on their territory, to * ask' instead of * order/
and the existence of an Army whose orders came from a Government
not in the Soviet Union was too much for Moscow, whose word had been
supreme for so long. One of the first measures to be taken by the
Russian authorities, was to ensure that the Polish troops were isolated as
much as possible from the local inhabitants. They were seldom given
billets, but were quartered in abandoned camps, or, in many cases, as
for instance, in Turkestan (where the Poles were afterwards sent,) the
villages were handed over, emptied of their population, the erstwhile
inhabitants having been sent elsewhere.
The Soviets were unwilling to give arms to the Poles. They appeared
equally dissatisfied with the idea that the British and Americans might
supply them with armaments and that a numerically strong Polish Army
would indeed go to the front. It was not difficult to understand their
uneasiness in this respect, for in the event of a victory, this Army and the
Soviets would enter Polish territory together, A contingency which
would place the Kremlin in an embarrassing, not to say difficult, position
with regard to Poland. The Polish Government, then having a real
force in their own country, could undoubtedly prevent the Kremlin
obtaining complete control of Poland, and carrying out a policy of further
extermination, similar to the one which they had undertaken in 1939-41.
The Poles considered along these same lines and were just as equally
anxious to have this army prepared for what might prove to be the shortest
road back to their country.
The Soviet deliberations on this problem were far from satisfactory,
and, as the implications of the situation increased, the Kremlin took more
and more decisive steps to limit the strength of the increasing Polish
forces. Their hands were tied regarding the possibility of dissolving this
Army altogether, for they still had need of it at that stage of the war,
moreover, such a move was liable not only to terminate in a pitched battle,
but also to have serious repercussions in the camp of the Allies.
The Army now began to leave the camps on the Volga* The first units
were sent at the end of January and the transportation continued until the